The Hiding Place

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Bob Smithouser

Movie Review

It’s been more than 50 years since the horrors of Ravensbruck, Dachau and Auschwitz—since showers became death traps and chimneys spewed the residue of Nazi hatred. But amid that darkness shone a light. Just as Hitler’s wartime atrocities are indelibly etched on the human conscience, the love, faith and sacrifice of one Christian family lives on as a testimony of goodness and hope.

Available on home video, The Hiding Place tells Corrie ten Boom’s dramatic real-life account of her family’s outreach to Jews desperate to escape Nazi tyranny—and the consequences they faced for the cause of Christ. It is a deftly handled, well acted, spiritually uplifting period piece tastefully infused with chilling realism.

The story begins with the German occupation of Holland. After prayerful consideration, the ten Booms open their home to Jews seeking refuge from the Gestapo. The family is discreet and cunning. Though gentiles, they risk everything for their Jewish kin. “Remember,” Papa says, “it is the Jews who gave us the Bible … and our Savior.”

Soon, oppression turns to persecution, and cruelty leads to holocaust. The family is imprisoned and later banished to concentration camps. But their faith never wavers. The film explores issues such as trusting God’s sovereignty despite circumstances, overcoming the temptation to hate one’s enemies and reacting when the laws of God and government conflict—as well as the pricelessness of Scripture, the value of human life and other rich discussion material.

While The Hiding Place is a bittersweet tale suitable for parents and teens, it includes a few violent moments that make it inappropriate for children. A man is shot. A woman’s hand is bloodily broken with the butt of a gun. Disturbing beatings and other inhumane treatment occurs in the death camp. But despite the horror, this timeless story serves to praise God and encourage believers. A poignant epilogue features an elderly Corrie ten Boom concluding, “No pit is so deep that He is not deeper still.” It’s a truth worth reinforcing with teens.

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Bob Smithouser